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The Egyptian Revolution is not a sporting event. Hundreds have been killed and thousands injured by police and regime inspired thugs in the 18 days it has taken for a non-violent mass movement to build into a powerful force able to oust a dictator closely linked to U.S. interests. Yet in the celebratory moment following his resignation, it is important to remember that even as Mubarak hands power to the military, the movement that expelled him faces new challenges and deserves our ongoing attention and support. This is not over.
The protesters, who have inspired observers around the world with their bravery, determination, and sheer numbers, know that the brutal and kleptocractic regime Mubarak represented, will not simply melt away. Low ranking, often conscripted soldiers and some officers have shown sympathy and cautious support for the anti-Mubarak demonstrators, but the views of high command are harder to decipher. And as freedom loving Iranians, Romanians, Nicaraguans, Russians, Mexicans and others know, pushing out a hated figure or political party is no guarantee of peace, democracy, human rights, or an end to repression.
In the days to come we are likely to see efforts to douse the revolutionary spirits that have been transforming Egypt and inspiring supporters around the globe. Egypt under Mubarak was a strategic cornerstone for American and Israeli interests in the region. A realignment of Egyptian policy driven by popular –democratic– sentiment in Egypt would undermine the cozy, U.S. led real politic that has held sway in the Middle East for decades. Powerful interests will be at work trying to divide and contain the mass movement and its leadership.
The great drama of the Egyptian revolution will continue. Demonstrators and movement leaders are likely to face excruciating pressure to curtail their mobilization as well as to accept partial measures that leave power and class structures intact and do not undermine tacit Egyptian support for Israeli military domination of occupied Palestine and surrounding region.
In the U.S., the hysterical right has already begun an Islamaphobic scare campaign promoting the idea that radical Islamists are lying in wait to turn Egypt into another Iran. In this article, “Why Egypt Will Not Turn Into Another Iran,” Professor Stephen Zunes demolishes those arguments.
Stand with the People of Egypt
- Medea Benjamin and several of her colleagues from CODEPINK were recently on the ground in Egypt standing in solidarity with the people. See Medea’s interview with Laura Flanders on GRITtv on lessons learned in Cairo.
- We must not forget that Mubarak’s regime was propped up by one US administration after another for 30 years in order to maintain the balance of power in the region in favor of Israel. This is a perfect moment to tell Congress that you want your taxdollars to support people’s needs, not dictators or the violent policies of the Israeli government.
- We will do our best to keep you informed on our People to People blog — along with the great alternative and social media that have played such an important role in turning popular passion into highly effective mass action.